Monday, August 09, 2010

Coffee Weather!

Yeah, so here I am, wide awake at 4:30 in the damn morning on a Monday. That's just wrong! But the first thing I did once I got out of bed was hit the ol' homepage on the laptop, and I saw that it was a wonderful 72 degrees here in Hendertucky. Digging a little further, I saw that it was only 70.4 degrees here in my neighborhood!

Oh hell yeah--after a summer of blazing heat where it was at least 110 every afternoon, and the truck was too hot to touch, it felt like heaven. The first thing I did once I saw how nice it was outside was open up a few windows and the patio door, and then shut down the air conditioner for the first time in months.


I still have a couple of fans going, just to circulate the air here in the apartment, but I'm going to enjoy a few hours worth of free cool air, sipping my morning coffee again (I swear, due to the heat and the fact that I haven't been able to sleep for the past month or so, I haven't made but one pot since the first of July). Oh, it'll warm back up once the sun rises, but today's high is only supposed to be 99 degrees, the first non-triple digit day that I can remember in a very long time. I'll have to close the joint back up and turn the AC back on in a few hours, but right now, it feels pretty damn good. Almost good enough to have a cigar on the patio for breakfast...

So what else is new around here? Not too much, I've got to tell you. My last 'official' day of work was on Thursday night, so I've had plenty of time to relax and wind down from my whirlwind of summer jobs, but do not despair, dear readers, for there are good things on the horizon. I'll share more when the time is appropriate.

With all this newly found free-time on my hands, I have to do something to fill the days, right? Well, I'm not going to go out and spend any money--there are just too many diversions in this town and right now I'm in conservation mode. So I prefer to fall back on my favorite activities. I still have a stack of paperbacks to read, plus a couple more books on the nightstand that I need to digest.

Over the past several days, I tackled Ludlum's The Bourne Identity, which I thought would be pretty good. I remember enjoying the first movie back when it came out, although the second one sucked like crap on a stick--too much of that shakey-cam thing going on in the fight scenes, where it ended up looking like the only person getting their ass kicked was the cameraman. I swear, I've never gotten seasick in a movie, but that was a close one. Anyhow, I figured that the book had to be really good.

Boy, was I wrong.

Oh dear god what a piece of shiat. Anybody who's spent any time on this site knows that I read a lot--probably about ten times more than your average person--so I know when I've got a good book in my hands. Well, as far as I'm concerned, Ludlum sucks. Seriously, the entire book was just one big steaming fly-covered pile of dog poo. Oh, it started out well enough--a dude fished out of the Mediterranean, barely alive, with enough bullet holes in him to turn him into Swiss cheese, and no memory. But from there, it went completely downhill. I plodded through all 500+ pages of the dreck, but believe me when I tell you that it sucked.

First of all, I get that it was originally set in the 1970's--and I'm totally down with a good cold-war era spy thriller--but the amount of 'suspension of disbelief' required on the reader's part was just too much to swallow. And not only that, the plot was thinner than a Brazilian supermodel on a coke bender (nothing at all like the film, but then, they couldn't make this book into a current film without bowing to the age of the internet and instant communications). Oh, and there must've been about a dozen or more extraneous characters that added nothing to the already ridiculously unbelievable premise.

So yeah, the bottom line, it sucked. And now I'm completely bummed out because I bought the entire trilogy in paperback. I really doubt that I'll get around to even cracking open Supremecy and Ultimatum.

On the other hand, currently I'm in the middle of reading Seized: A Sea Captain's Adventures Battling Scoundrels and Pirates While Recovering Stolen Ships in the World's Most Troubled Waters by Max Hardberger. Well worth the effort--the man has some great stories, and some of them are downright scary. My only gripe is that I wish it were longer--I'm almost completely through it, and I can tell that I want more.

Some of you may have thought that I've lost the sailing bug, but it's not true. It's just that the day-to-day stress of my life these past few months have gotten in the way of daydreaming about the good life of palm trees, sandy beaches, steel drums, and salt air. Well, I still have plenty of options to fuel my escapism. One such website is Cruising with Prudence, about a couple who suddenly one day decided to drop everything and go cruising, and within a couple of years they went from inexperienced landlubbers to full-on living the dream. I've been reading every single one of their entries from the very beginning (still only about halfway through), and I've enjoyed the hell out of it. I think with a few tweaks here and there to convert the content from blog entries to more of a daily journal, it would make one hell of a fine coffee-table book. (There are hundreds of pictures to look at, too).

While I'm sitting at the computer reading that, sometimes I multi-task, too. About a week ago I downloaded Full-Tilt onto the laptop and opened a new account. A couple of years back, I used to play on PokerStars quite a bit, but gave it up after cashing big in a couple of tournaments. First of all, I remember reading somewhere how they programmed the site for 'action' boards--lots of possible straights and flushes and paired boards--instead of dealing out truly random hands. I don't know if that's true or not, but damn, it sure seemed like there were a lot of ridiculous suckouts every day, so once I built my bankroll up to a respectable four digits, I cashed out and eventually deleted the site from my hard drive.

And part of it had to do with the fact that once I cashed out most of the money, I actually left a few hundred in my account, but that got ground into dust by suffering bad beat after bad beat for a couple of weeks. That kept me from wanting to go back, too. Besides, I figured, who needs to play online when there are dozens of live poker rooms just a few minutes from my driveway.

But I kept pretty good records while I was on there, and those last few months I was with PokerStars, I was a winning player. Not big stakes, that's for sure, but enough that I didn't have to reload my account, and collecting the occasional check was a nice feeling, too.

Well, when I went jobless back at the end of March, I pretty much supported myself for the following two months by playing poker. I guess you could've technically call me a 'pro' because that was my only source of income, but believe me, I'm not that good--I'm no pro like you see on TV. I'm more of a low-stakes grinder. And I remember the elated feeling I had when I hit the day (about three weeks into the calendar month both times) when I'd finally made enough from playing poker to cover all of my regular monthly expenses. I wasn't getting rich, that's for sure, but it was a minor cause for celebration to hit that target number when there was still over a week left until the rent was due again--especially when you're working without a net!

So now I'm temporarily without an income again, and since the job market out here is still in the litter box, and I had to do something. On the other hand, I know I'll never make it as a poker pro because 1) I'm impatient as hell, and 2) lately, I've been bored stiff by playing cards. Seriously, the last couple of trips to the poker room have been boring as hell for me as a player. I couldn't concentrate, I wasn't having any fun, and I just wasn't feeling it. That's a recipe for bankroll disaster. So I've stopped, at least for now, going out to the casinos to play cards, and that's why I joined up on Full-Tilt. I can do other things while I'm playing.

So far, it's been good. I've not made a fortune, but my account is still in the black and I'm heading in the right direction. I remember the first day after I funded my account, I got into a 27-player sit-n-go tournament. In the first round, a couple of people limped in for the minimum bet, and the player right in front of me went all-in. With my Six-Deuce offsuit, it was an easy fold, but not being used to the setup and not quite paying attention, I accidentally hit the 'Call' button.


I'm sure the entire table thought I was the world's worst donkey when my shiatty cards were exposed, while I was screaming NO! NO! NO! at the computer as soon as I realized what I'd done. So in my first tournament, I went out in 27th place. After taking a few minutes to calm myself down, I got into another sit-n-go, this time with only 18 players. I did much better that time--I won the whole damn thing.

Since then, I've been off to the races. I hit a couple of obstacles a few days ago when I played in 45-player tournaments. I went from being chip leader at the final table to being Bubble Boy about ten minutes later. (Bubble Boy, for those of you not versed in the language of poker, is the unfortunate soul who busts out one spot away from the prize money--truly the worst feeling in the world, playing all that time and then falling just short). I was so pissed off about that one that I logged out and refused to play again for the rest of the day. (It was a ridiculous suck out--I had Ace-Queen [of course], flopped two pair, and some jackass with pocket jacks went all-in in front of me. He was drawing to a two-outer and of course caught his miracle card on the river, sending me to the proverbial rail)

The next morning, I swore that I wouldn't bubble out again, and got into another 45-player tourney. This time, I went out in 8th place--Bubble Boy plus one (they only pay the top six). Grrr!

After that, I scaled it back to playing single-table and either 18- or 27-player tourneys, and I've done well--cashing every time and winning a couple outright. And last night, while I was reading that sailing website, I played in another 45-player tourney. On the very first hand of the tournament, I doubled up and knocked somebody out, taking a huge commanding chip lead. I almost went wire-to-wire, but when the blinds got huge at the final table, I fell as far as fifth-highest stack. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when we got down to six players, knowing that I'd cashed. When we got down to five players, I caught a huge hand with Ace-King, tripling up and knocking out two players. I think I had about $34,000 while my two opponents had less than $14,000 each.

But I took a couple of beats (three-way and heads-up play is tricky, and much less predictable), and relinquished the lead. Then I outsmarted myself and went out in third place, overvaluing my top pair to the chip leader. Oh well, at least I didn't bubble out, and I got a nice chunk of change for winning the bronze medal.

A few things I've noticed, now that I've gotten back into the online game. Full-Tilt seems to be catering to the Red Bull swilling backwards-hat crowd. It seems like there is too much time for a player to act, giving the people that play a half dozen games at a time plenty of room to maneuver. That annoys me to no end, as I've never been one to play multiple games at the same time. Oh, I may succumb at some point, but right now, I prefer to concentrate on one tournament at a time. It's worked so far--I've made the final table every time I've played in a tourney that had 27 players or more.

Also, I'm surprised by the complete lack of limit Omaha cash games. There are none. Zero. Nada. Everything is pot-limit. Also, I can tell that the economy still sucks because every time I sign up for a tournament, I have to wait several minutes before enough players register. A few years ago, when times were good, it was instant-on when you got into a sit-n-go. Now, after I register, I have to sit-n-wait or other players to join, even in the cheaper games.

Anyhow, that's what I've been doing with my free time--lots of reading, a little bit of online poker (I'm not hitting it nearly as hard as I used to). In the meantime, I'm still planning a menu for poker night at Casa de Mikey on Wednesday. (BTW Josie--my schedule is completely full on Wednesday, so I will be unable to play in the Very Josie tournament--sorry!)

Of course, the fellas want me to make BBQ pork again, but hey, you want to keep 'em beggin' for more, so I think I'm not gonna make that two weeks in a row. I've pretty much decided to do Bisquick sausage balls (a party staple down South), and Firefly-style bacon-wrapped dates. Not quite sure what else to go with, but I'm open to suggestions. I was thinking about a veggie tray, but since none of the gals will be joining us this week, it won't fly at all with this crowd. I have to come up with something that the beer-drinking dudes are gonna want.

I think that's about all from here. It's time to refill the coffee cup and make a shopping list. Once I get moving, I'm gonna head to the gas station, the bank, and the grocery store, then spend the afternoon reading and maybe playing a little online poker.

Until next time, kiddies...


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